A new trend in functional fitness, calisthenics is a form of bodyweight training that seems to have better speed and endurance. But how to practice it?In Greek ” calistenia ” means ” beauty of strength ” there will be a reason. Calisthenics is a set of free-body physical exercises intimately linked to artistic gymnastics, mostly performed without tools, aimed at strengthening the physique in contrast to the weight and strength of one’s own body. It seems to have many advantages and can be followed even by those who are not particularly trained.
Also known as street workout , calisthenic gymnastics focuses on the development of strength, coordination, balance and elasticity through free-body movements that do not require special tools.
The basic exercises are divided according to the various muscle areas that you want to strengthen and the central part includes abdominals, back muscles and pelvic tract.
What is calisthenics
It is part of functional training , i.e. those aimed at improving strength, endurance, power and coordination skills. Calisthenics is in fact a sports discipline to be performed using the weight of one’s own body to shape muscles and improve strength .
It involves several exercises in a series of progressive difficulties that require power and body weight control, without the use of special equipment. It includes exercises of all levels, from the simplest ones that can be done more or less by anyone, to those in which more adequate preparation is needed. There are, therefore, calisthenics exercises suitable for everyone’s needs.
In summary, the characteristics of calisthenics are:
- training without equipment or with bars
- compound exercises that work with body weight (the basic ones are pull-ups, planks , pushups and squats), to be performed in repetitions, static and negative positions or freestyle mode
- correct technical execution and control in every exercise
In principle, therefore, calisthenics is a discipline that involves all the large muscle masses of the body , through dynamic and isometric exercises, even among those generally used in the physical preparation of any other sport.
The benefits of calisthenics
By practicing calisthenics, the body improves in a global way and gradually reaches a refinement of motor skills and a development of strength . Like almost all sports, Calisthenics also promotes a general improvement in balance and elasticity and helps increase awareness of your body.
In addition, calisthenics has its own that can also be outdoors, with all the benefits that derive from it if you exercise outdoors .
In summary, calisthenia can be said to improve significantly:
- muscle toning
- general well-being
In addition, the functional training that is performed with Calesthenics is excellent for burning calories and losing weight.
Calisthenics, how to practice it and what the exercises consist of
Needless to say, if you decide to embark on such a discipline, you must first understand what your athletic level is, what you can do and what you want to learn.
The basic exercises of Calisthenics involve traction, bending on the arms and movements to develop the abdominals, to achieve superior skills that require and strengthen the main muscle groups.
Among the more complex exercises , however, there are the front lever, the back lever, the muscle up.
It is, therefore, a form of training that follows a gradually more complex graduality.
In summary, it can be said that the exercises can be grouped into three levels: the first involves the muscles of the upper body and among the fundamental exercises there is the push-up ( push-ups on the arms on the ground) and the pull-ups, the pull-up ; the second concerns the core (abdominal center, that is the strengthening of the deep muscles of the trunk, pelvis and back) and in this area the fundamental exercises are sit-ups , crunches and planks ; The third level touches the lower part, where the main exercise is the squat. For the triceps surale and the Achilles tendon there is the possibility to work through a rise as can be a step (the calf ).
Exercises for beginners
The basic exercises of this type of training mainly involve traction, bending on the arms and movements to develop the abs.
As for the upper body , the most affected muscles are biceps, triceps, pectorals, deltoids, forearms and core. Among the fundamental exercises:
- push-ups : are push-ups on the arms on the ground that have multiple variations, depending on one’s strength. They can be done with straight legs, with legs bent with the knees on the ground, with one arm or with the feet resting on a rise. In any case, pelvis, trunk and neck must be aligned, hands on the ground shoulder-width apart
- pull-ups , or pull-ups : these are pull-ups for the first few times with supine grip (palm inwards) at a width slightly greater than that of the shoulders. Only later will you be able to afford the prone grip
- dips at the parallel bars : you position yourself in the middle of the parallel bars and with your arms stretched vertically with extended elbows you keep your body suspended).
For the lower body , the exercises are
- squats : open your feet shoulder-width apart with the toes facing out. With arms forward, come down as if you would like to sit, keeping your back straight and moving your pelvis slightly back. Descend until the thighs are parallel to the ground, then ascend to the starting position with the heel always on the ground
- push-ups : from the upright position with the arms stretched forward and the feet slightly apart, crouch down by bending the legs and slightly lifting the heels. Then make a vertical jump trying to get as high as possible and then go back with your legs bent
- calf : start from an upright position, place one foot on the step with your toe, while lifting the other leg and bring it behind. Raise above the step line, then go down bringing the heel of the support foot below the step line
For the core , that is, the basic exercises are generally:
- sit-up : supine with bent legs, bring the trunk as close as possible to the legs
- crunch : supine with bent legs, only the upper part of the trunk raised off the ground
- plank : frontal or lateral, the abdominals work in isometry, i.e. when stationary. On the front, the starting position is that of the bends which are suspended, however, on the elbows resting on the ground. Try to assume the most horizontal posture possible between head, back and buttocks and heels, contracting abdominals and buttocks. In the lateral variant, the elbow rests on the ground and rises from the side
Remember that the basic rule if you start training is never to overdo it .
Below a video for beginners of calesthenics starring Frank Medrano , one of the most famous practitioners of this discipline.